the house that george built...

Less than a mile from the heart of town, across the street from the elementary school that my kids went to, stands a small abandoned house. It is set way back in the woods between a tangled mess of tall maples and an antique apple orchard. In the winter it can be seen from the road, a ghostly, run down looking Tudor style house. But in the summertime it is a secret hide-away; an Enchanted Storybook Cottage.

This little house has always been the brunt of urban legend stories in our town- no one every really knew what the story behind it was - why did it go empty and abandoned for all these years...decades actually. Well, last week, on my favorite day, (Wednesday, rural decay adventure day) I had the pleasure of discovering more about it, when I snuck up onto the property with my camera to get a better look. Unexpectedly I was met up with its current owner, the grandson of the man who built the house, when he drove up the gravel drive and caught me with my camera redhanded. He graciously filled me in on the houses history and invited me to take pictures (because it is so hidden in this shady glade, these photos are unfortunately rough)

George Shorey built the little cottage around 1910 as his art studio. He was a well known and successful ( listed even) artist as well as art professor in NY and this was his getaway during his time off. The structure is primitive, after all he wasn't an architect. Traditional Tudor in design it is constructed of reclaimed beams, and salvaged parts including leaded glass windows (no longer there) and rustic doors and hardware. Yup, they were even recycling and reusing back in those days. Cement was carefully troweled over chicken wire exterior and sections of the beams were decoratively carved. There is a massive chimney at one end of the studio that soars two stories high and a steep open staircase that leads to a galley type loft over this huge fireplace. We couldn't go into the building but we stuck our camera inside and you can get an idea of the interior. A mess from being vandalized and partied in over the decades.

I could see remnants of old frames and garden statues that made me wonder ... what did this place look like when it was first built?

When I left I asked the nice man what they were going to do with the property. He said they were building their retirement home on the back acreage ( he even gave us a tour of that!) and going to tear down the front house. No!

But it turns out he meant the front house, that being the big white elephant of a house that his Grandfather lived in next to the little cottage - An old 18th century gothic style house, beautiful in its own right, that has gone to ruin.

As for the enchanted storybook cottage / art studio? George's grandson will be restoring that back to its original beauty :)

Won't George be happy ...


when we were kids we had chairs like these...

not like these...

what took so long?

...EVA Foam Chairs are expertly cut from soft, sturdy EVA foam - the same material that you'll find inside your athletic shoes. The foam makes them comfortable, safe, lightweight, durable, strong and washable.... available at spacify.com

...soooo CUTE and JUST COOL!


but i think i could overcome that if i lived here...

Casa 11 Mujeres (Eleven Women House) was designed by Mathias Klotz as a holiday home to accommodate a family with eleven daughters. Planned in bare concrete with travertine floors, this stunning house adapts to the contours of its site by its compact layout so as to offer breathtaking views from every room. Built on a 45 degree slope, “Eleven Woman” house is a vacation home at Beranda. It stands on a site sloping down to Cachagua beach on the Pacific, 140 kilometers north of Santiago, Chile. Sooo....hmmm...why does South America seem to get all the coolest architecture????

read more and see more on my favorite design blog DeZeen.

photography by Cristobal Palma



For the designaholic in you, this innovative toaster / printer is just what you ordered up for breakfast.

'..made of aluminium and plastics, Zuse is a toaster equipped with optical sensor which activates digital toasting once it senses the presence of bread. Inspired by the early matrix printers and designed to work as a traditional print maker, it burns line-by-line black and white pictures with 12 by 12 pixel resolution into the toast. Comes with a memory chip which stores multiple images...'

from inseq design, courtesy of appliantcist


It's Sunday - time to relax...
maybe do a little arts and crafts?

check out some instant origami here

Cell Phone Accessories up to 75% off



Who'da thought a carpet would be beneficial to your health as well as environmentally conscious? Not me! I was happily surprised when I read up on these floor coverings from Raku Living Inc. From this Toronto based company, comes an innovative floor covering that, although it's concept has been around for centuries, lives up to today's standards in terms of eco friendly living. AND it's beautiful and comfortable to boot, ranging in designs from contemporary to traditional.

But beauty and eco friendliness isnt all that is Raku. These modern carpets are made of Igusa, a rush plant material that is renewable, sustainable and biodegradable. When I think of rush I think of hard rush seat chairs but this fiber has come a long way! Not only comfortable underfoot, igusa is exceptional in that it also provides extraordinary health benefits. Because of the natural sponge-like properties of the rush plant, this carpeting can absorb many types of household pollutants, odors and harmful gasses. And the health benefits don't stop there. Igusa acts as a natural humidifier and dehumidifier, regulating the air humidity to a healthy level.

So next time you are in the market for floor covering THINK GREEN and consider this ancient wonder that is making a comeback in environmentally sound interiors today. It is JUST COOL!
Available from Raku Living Inc.

ARTICLES WANTED! Calling all Writers/Photographers

If you are a closet writer and/or photographer I would love to hear from you! I am always looking for weird, interesting, funny, crazy, cool, green and ultra-new products and places relating to design.

To contribute articles, photographs and editorial that are relevant to JUST COOL Design Blog, email your articles and photos to justcooldesign@yahoo.com with the words: ARTICLE SUBMISSION in the subject line.

Should I choose to post yours on JUST COOL, credit and linkage will be given to you on the post. Great exposure for you and more interesting articles for us!



there are weird pillows

and then there are cool pillows from inhabitliving.com...


ORANGE you glad?

That ORANGE is this years new black?

Franek in Space

It's popping up everywhere

Orange Sofas

Orange Cars

orange hair

even orange bathtubs.


coolest of cool .... ORANGE HOUSES

check out this weekend house at CarreƧo [I love cantilevers…]



I know its Thursday but this is about Wednesday. I like Wednesday for a number of reasons. First of all, its the middle of the week so the weekend isn't far off. All the Monday "getting back into the daily grind" crap is over with. Second, it's free iced coffee at Starbucks and third and best of all is it has become my RURAL DECAY ADVENTURE DAY.

So this Wednesday was an overcast day, perfect for shooting (pictures) and adventuring up into the West Glenville hills. We were going abandoned house hunting. The sky was teary and foreboding and a mist of grey hung in the air. The perfect backdrop to what we were about to find. Elizabeth (my daughter) and I, grabbed our shoes and cameras and headed out. First we got our Starbucks. Yeah, that hit the spot -- but was finished before we even officially got on the back roads headed up to the hills.

The landscape changes dramatically as you climb these winding roads. Its almost magical - like entering another world. So SOOO green. Infact I didn't realize it but my camera was set to a weird mode that exaggerated the greens...and made everything else variations of grey, the shots coming out black and white with exorcist green accents. I was annoyed looking at the playbacks as I took them and couldn't figure out what the heck I had done to make it switch modes like that. But after I uploaded them, I actually liked them. I think they turned out eerily beautiful.

Things weren't looking too promising though as we passed house after renovated house. The rundown houses I remember spotting 20 or more years ago, now had crisp new coats of neutral paint, new energy efficient doors and windows and all the character drained from them. Trees were cut down and red plastic toy vehicles sat in paved driveways. Every once in a while we'd see a prospect up ahead but then it would turn out to be inhabited. Run down, but someone was obviously living there. As in the instance of the bearded man, you see in these photos. I cant believe he actually lived in this house, but he did. He held a long scythe in his hand and was "mowing" his 2 foot high grass with it, when we spotted him and the house. I pulled over and approached him. He was scary and I'm sure he too was leery of me, this stranger that wanted to photograph him and his house. I told him I wanted to put him and his charming house on my blog and he actually let me take his picture as well as the house. He even knew what a blog was! He was definitely an interesting old character.
The rest of the ride was eventful - three more abandoned houses and lots of rural critters (some I didn't photograph) including a mangy coyote that jumped out in front of our car and then disappeared into the woods. The "doll house" was a real gem . I call it the doll house because the whole front was exposed just like a dollhouse revealing the two stories and a funky, off kilter staircase. It was chock full of all the decayed architectural details found only in an abandoned house. Every inch of it was an artistic vignette just waiting to tell a story. I couldn't wait to get home and go through these photos.
But dusk was approaching and it began to rain. Our Wednesday adventure was sadly over (and with the cost of gas it had to be).
But only for another week. We will return.

Lover's lane is on next weeks itinerary - you know, the place where the dead bride was spotted walking barefoot down the road...

stay tuned....



When you think of sticks do you think of hair? Not likely, but Art For Hair does. This unique etsy shop makes hair sticks - a versatile hair accessory which can be used by anyone with hair long enough to pull back into a ponytail, giving it a fashionable, elegant and unique look. You have seen photos of Geisha in costume wearing this ornate hair "jewelry". It was common place in oriental fashion. But the history of hair sticks goes back much further, as far back as the early Egyptians, ancient Assyrian, Eutruscan, Greek and Roman civilizations who used hair sticks made of gold and decorated with shells and gemstones.

Art for Hair replicates this ancient craft in modern hair wear using a variety of materials in semi precious stones and metals and in a variety of styles , even custom! Check them out.


stones are a beautiful thing

when they are these natural tumbled stones i found at Etsy Shop

Charming Rose Supplies

i love the organic look and color variations in these.

Located in Toronto, Zizi offers unique craft and jewelry supplies at great prices.
You can also find her own handiwork at her homemade etsy shop:
Purple Rose
I find her "ladyhead" original aceos to be



Poppy Petunia informed me this morning that it's time to get her her own place. So I've been looking, searching the doggy real estate market and there are alot of interesting dog houses out there.

I don't know what style she'll decide on. Like me, she is eclectic in her taste. Sometimes her favorite lounging spot is my modern yellow
sofa, while other times i'll catch her nestled in her shabby chic pink and blue quilt with the pink flowered sheets.

So Pops, which one will it be?

At Le Petite Maison you can get a Federal Colonial like this one

a little too stuffy for fun loving poppy petunia i think

how about a meditareanean villa?

or a Swiss Chalet
naaaaaaa...thats not Poppy

now we're talkin' - this has that cottage chic look that she loves
but we're not quite there
a Dog Cabin!

Pink Craftsman Bungalow.. Pink is Pops color - and its a delicate shade of pink too
I like this one too.

Popsy, don't give up just yet!
besides there's All Natural, Premium Dog Food at Only Natural Pet Store

This one looks like cool digs....minimalist,green and


Such a tough decision - I guess for now Moms yellow sofa will suffice.



who's there?

door knockers
door knockers who?

door knockers...you know...
the things before there were doorbells...

they had their humble beginnings as
simple primitive rings nailed to a door

as time went on they became more ornate
and evolved into fanciful figures

they became door jewelry
or doorbling as it is known today ;)


or angel

religous icons

and stylized animals
foxy ones

creepy snake ones

i love the unusual ones like this seahorse

not him...

and this dragonfly